The Kīlauea volcano has been in a brooding mood this month. Although the Hawaiian volcano has been erupting continuously for some 33 years, the past few weeks have seen its lava lakes verging on spilling point.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that the lava lake rose to within around 5 meters (16 feet) of the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater over the weekend. Since 2008, the Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook has been closed due to “volcanic hazards”, however on Saturday the lava lake rose to its highest level since May 2015, when the lava actually overflowed the vent rim.
"It's really quite pretty," Don Swanson of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory told Associated Press. He added that the Jagger Museum at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park provides some particularly spectacular views of the lake at night: "People from the museum can see the incandescent lava and watch the spattering that's taking place along the edge of the lake."
Meanwhile, the lava continues to reach the Kamokuna ocean entry, creating a vigorous bloom of steam. All in all, an exciting few weeks for volcanologists and Hawaiian tourists.
Here’s some incredible photographs from the USGS of the lava lake's recent activity, as well footage of the Halemaʻumaʻu crater summit bubbling away in late July.
Another glimpse of the lava lake at its highest point this year
The lava lake looking especially radiant on the evening of September 7, just 8 meters (26 feet) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater
The summit lava lake remains at a "high level" on September 12 - around 18 meters (60 feet) from the rim